In 2008, Black Friday turned deadly at one of Wall-Mart’s Long Island locations. As crowds stormed the store’s entrance in hopes of taking advantage of store wide sales, a Wall-Mart employee was trampled and killed by the mass of shoppers. Nearly two years later, Wall-Mart is still battling a 7,000 thousand dollar fine that was put upon the store following the accident.
Wall-Mart claims that ‘crowd trampling’ was not a forseeable occupational hazard. In fact, Wall-Mart has gone so far as to spend over a million dollars in legal fees in order to fight the fine. Wall-Mart worries that if the fine sticks, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be able to oversee all future major sales events. But, I ask, why is this at all bad?
If an employee was killed, then obviously Wall-Mart was doing something wrong, and therefore deserves to be subject to increased oversight. Under labor laws, companies are responsible for protecting their employees. To me, a rushing crowd of 2,000 over-excited shoppers sounds like a situation in which an employee may be exposed to some type of danger. According to reports, Wall-Mart failed to respond to this seemingly obvious hazard. Therefore, Wall-Mart should be fined and watched over in the future.
At Goldstein and Bashner, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights and health of workers. We have helped workers throughout the Long Island and New York areas obtain compensation for injuries they may have sustained as a result of hazardous work conditions.